Reflection Paper on Teacher Knowledge

Let us be clear on something: there are, without a doubt a significant amount of bright people in the world; people who perhaps may be considered smarter than a teacher. However, I firmly believe that a person cannot be a teacher simply because he or she is a bright person. Having knowledge of a Subject Matter is important, but knowing the art of imparting that knowledge is imperative, almost indispensable to a teacher.
An essential aspect of the art of imparting knowledge is the teacher’s ability to get to know her students; consequently, she develops a professional relationship with them. This knowledge is important for the development of the teacher-student rapport. The connection between student and teacher is the key to the students’ success. When a teacher knows her students, when she knows their likes, dislikes, what motivates them, what turns them off, etc., a teacher finds a way to extract talent from the students. This is exactly the situation with the Sports PowerPoint Presentation students in my A.P. Spanish Language class were assigned to create.
Knowing their favorite sport was tremendously helpful in developing the Sports lesson plan for my class. The students felt validated because one of their teachers took the time to get to know them. My students were extremely surprised and impressed that I remembered their favorite sport which they had told me at the beginning of the year. Of course I wrote down the information because it would be impossible for me to remember by the end of the Spring Semester when the presentations were done. The moment the students received their assignments I saw them gleaming with ideas for their presentation. This specific moment on my teaching career taught me that when we make assignments personal, the students care. They enjoy planning it, developing it and presenting it in front of their peers. It is the best way to extract talent from the students and to make sure that every child feels as if he or she is the teacher’s favorite student, simply because she remembered a piece of personal information.
Another key ingredient of the art of imparting is having 100% certainty of the accuracy of the knowledge of our subject matter. We have to present to our students the correct material the first time around, hence the importance of planning our lessons. It is a different story when the students ask us a question we do not know the answer to, we can always get back to them; but the material we teach our students has to be flawless. Besides the fact that students can tell when a teacher is improvising a lesson, presenting unprepared material is extremely demeaning to children.
How can a teacher demand that a student learn material presented when the teacher himself does not know it with 100% accuracy? I believe that if the teacher feels that she needs to become more familiar with the material, she should create a lesson plan and ask a teacher mentor for guidance on how to teach that particular lesson. If the material is presented in a clear yet challenging way to the students, they will understand the concepts and put them in practice outside the classroom.
When I introduced the Formal and Informal Commands in my Regents class, I had to make sure that I was confident when I was teaching the lesson. I understand that errors may occur, but if they do occur, they must be cleared up during the lesson; being cognizant of what we teach when we are teaching, is a difficult trait to obtain, but a necessary one to ensure the accuracy of the material we teach. I prepared the lesson by reviewing irregular commands, so that I could clearly explain to the students without a glitch.
I was confident that I had taught a good lesson, therefore I could demand a lot from my students. They were assigned a “¿Cómo se hace…?” PowerPoint Presentation. In it, they used formal and informal affirmative and negative commands. During their class presentation, they asked for a classmate volunteer who would follow the commands and accomplish the purpose of the presentation.
I always strive to be a good teacher. I understand that being a good teacher is a learning process, one that never ends. I am not looking to be the most popular teacher in my school. I am looking into being a good teacher. Knowing the Subject Matter from introductory Spanish to A.P. Literature Spanish, makes me a good teacher because I can offer many options to my students. It also keeps me in check because one never ends reading all the literature there is to read, thus the feeling of complacency will not develop that easily. Knowing that knowledge is a lifelong process makes me a better teacher, because I know that I do not know everything and as a result, I am willing to learn new strategies and techniques to instill in my students the same love for learning that I possess.